You’re already aware the Pit Boss smoker can hot smoke burgers, ribs, brisket, veggies, etc. But did you know it’s possible to cold smoke cheese? I had no clue until I started reading about it online. That’s when I decided to find out everything about how to cold smoke cheese on a Pit Boss, and here’s what I learned.
Can You Smoke Cheese On A Pit Boss?
Yes, to cold smoke cheese, it’s vital to maintain grill temperatures below 90°F (32°C) to keep the cheese from melting. The grill is used as a holding chamber for the smoking tube and cheese, you don’t even have to plug it in.
Cold smoking differs from hot smoking and can be confusing if you’ve never done it. If you’re like me, every time you use your smoker, you power it on and set the temperature to the desired cooking time.
I cold smoked cheese for the first time ever this past weekend and here’s what I learned and the process I used after watching several YouTube videos.
Choose Your Cheese
There are a wide variety of cheeses that can be smoked such as Bri, Parmesan, Blue cheese and etc. The downside is that soft cheeses can take on too much smoke, which can affect the overall taste.
For your first experience, I recommend choosing a hard or semi-hard cheese for smoking.
For my first experience, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money (I spent $17 for my experiment), as I knew that I would make some mistakes.
So, I went with the following:
- Sharp Cheddar
- Pepper Jack
You could also choose to smoke Gouda, Swiss, etc.
The most important part is to choose something you want to eat, give it away as gifts for Christmas, use for charcuterie boards at your next party, or shred it to make your favorite dishes more flavorful (mac and cheese).
How to Buy the Cheese
I purchased the cheese from the deli at the local supermarket. Ask the person behind the to cut up some blocks of cheese. Once you get home, you can cut them into smaller sections if you choose.
Cutting them into smaller sections makes it easier for the smoke to penetrate the cheese. I chose to smoke mine as a full block.
The blocks should be big enough so they don’t fall through the grates, meaning you don’t want to smoke shredded cheese.
Prepping the Cheese
An hour before smoking the cheese, take it out of the refrigerator and place it on a rack or cutting board. If you want to cut the blocks of cheese into smaller pieces, use a sharp knife.
Otherwise, let the cheese sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before smoking. This allows the oils to come up to the surface oils on the blocks, making it easier to smoke.
Smoker Tube: There are several options to choose from, I went with the A-Maze-N Smoker Tube. It can be found at Hardware stores, Amazon, or the official Pit Boss website.
Smoker: I’ve owned my Pit Boss smoker for over 2 years now, but you can use any brand smoker. This article will walk you through the process of using a charcoal grill to smoke cheese.
If you don’t have a big budget but always wanted a pellet grill, you can choose from some smokers that are priced for under $100.
- Cuisinart Charcoal Bullet Smoker: A vertical smoker with two smoking racks that uses charcoal. Can be found on Amazon.
- Char Broil Gourmet Offset Smoker: Low & Slow cooking with a vertical pipe smokestack. Can be purchased at Amazon, Walmart, and Lowe’s.
There are many options to choose from based on budget. Be sure to check out our recommended page for pellet grills.
Fuel: Depending on the smoking device, you’ll fill it with pellets or dust. I filled mine with the Pit Boss pellets I had on hand, I’ll share which flavor I chose, so keep reading.
Thermometers: While it’s not necessary, I always have my thermometer whenever I use my outdoor grill. It’s a great way to monitor the internal temperature of the grill, as you don’t want it to get too hot.
Vacuum Sealer: If you don’t have one, you can also use plastic wrap.
How to Cold Smoke Cheese on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill?
Step 1: Cold Smoke Cheese on a Cold Day
Cold smoking cheese requires no heat, so you can use any type of grill. As mentioned above, you won’t be lighting the grill.
Solid milk in cheese begins to liquefy at 90°F (32°C), and it’s best to cold smoke in the fall and winter months.
I smoked the cheese in the early morning hours about two weeks before Thanksgiving Day weekend and it was 29°F outside.
Step 2: Setting Up The Pit Boss Smoker
Uncover the Pit Boss pellet grill and pull it away from the house. Even though you’re not turning it on, it’s good to get into a habit of pulling it away from combustible materials.
Step 3: Lighting the Smoker Device
Fill the smoker tube and light use a butane creme brulee lighter or a long handheld lighter to get it started. I used a Bic Multi-Purpose lighter I use to light my indoor candles.
Step 4: Place the Cheese on the Smoker
Place the cheese on either the top shelf or bottom shelf beside the smoking device. If placing them on the bottom shelf, use a cooling rack to keep them off the grates, especially, if they haven’t been cleaned in a while.
Placing them on a rack will also prevent the cheese from falling through the grates if you’ve cut the pieces too small.
Step 5: Flip & Rotate the Cheese
Rotate and flip the cheese every 30-60 minutes. I smoked the cheese for two hours. After an hour, I flipped the cheese over and put the cheese furthest away from the smoke, closer to the smoke.
For example, when I started the smoking process; I had the cheese lined up as:
- Starting Lineup: Cheddar >> Pepper Jack >> Provolone
- Final Lineup: Provolone >> Cheddar >> Pepper Jack
Also rotate the cheese to ensure the front is rotated to the back. You want to ensure the whole block is exposed to the smoke.
Don’t go over 4 hours, otherwise, it will get too much smoke and ruin the cheese.
Step 6: Remove the Cheese
Once you’re happy with the amount of smoke the cheese has been exposed to, remove it from the grill. You’ll the cheese will look darker, it’s because the smoke will cause the grill to get a little hot, which affects the cheese oil.
During the smoking process, I placed one of my handheld thermometers inside the grill and the temperature fluctuated between 46-50°F.
As long as the grill doesn’t get hotter than 90°F, it’s fine, otherwise, it will start melting.
Step 7: Wrap the Cheese for 24-48 Hours
Wrap the cheese in plastic wrap or butcher paper to allow the cheese to breathe a little bit. Place it in the refrigerator and let it sit for 24-48 hours.
Step 8: Vacuum Seal the Cheese
After 24-48 hours, remove the butcher paper or plastic wrap and vacuum seal the cheese. Write down the name of the cheese and date it. This way, you’ll know when the 2 weeks are up, you can even set a reminder on your phone, if you’re scared you won’t remember the cheese is in the fridge.
If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, use a Ziploc Freezer bag. To get the air out of the bag, place the cheese in the bag and ensure it is centered, seal the bag leaving half an inch unsealed.
Submerge the bottom of the bag in a bowl of water ensuring the cheese is completely submerged in the water. While submerged, seal the entire bag, being careful not to let water enter the bag.
When you pull it out, the bag will have a good enough seal to allow the oils from the cheese to infuse throughout the cheese.
Step 9: Wait for 1-2 Weeks
Place the vacuum-sealed cheese back in the refrigerator and let it sit for 2 weeks. Not kidding, it needs time to rest.
Once you smoke the cheese, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It has left a rancid (it’s left a burnt house) smell in my refrigerator. The first day was worse, it’s finally starting to go away, or I don’t notice it anymore.
I wasn’t brave enough to taste it after coming off the grill. But some people have said it tastes really smoky, almost acrid.
The two weeks will allow the smoke to distribute throughout the cheese and help mellow out the smoke significantly.
Step 10: Empty the Smoking Device
Use BBQ gloves to remove the smoking device, as it will be hot. If it still has burning pellets, leave it in the grill until it has finished burning.
When emptying the ashes, ensure there are no hot ashes that can cause a fire. I poured mine out on the driveway and sprayed them down with the water hose.
However, if you have an outdoor fire pit, you can pour the remainders in there. Just don’t put them in the trash can, as it can start a fire.
How Long Does It Take to Cold Smoke Cheese?
It will take 2-4 hours of maintaining a light, constant smoke to infuse the cheese with smoke. If you prefer less smoke, smoke it for no more than one hour.
Best Pellets to Use for Smoking Cheese?
When smoking cheese, opt for mild wood such flavors as; cherry, apple, maple, or pecan. I filled my 12-inch A-Maze-N smoke tube with the applewood pellets.
I was able to salvage a handful of pellets that didn’t burn at the end. Once you’re more confident about smoking cheese, you’ll know exactly. how many pellets to put in the smoking device.
How Long Do You Rest Smoked Cheese?
Let the vacuum-sealed cheese rest in the refrigerator rest for at least two weeks. If it was exposed to too much smoke, you can leave it in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks before eating it.
Don’t worry about it going bad, as properly vacuum sealed cheese can keep in the refrigerator for 2-6 months without spoiling.
Allowing it to rest properly will result in a much more flavorful end product.
Can You Eat the Cheese Right Away?
Yes, you can eat cheese right after smoking it. However, it will be a bitter terrible taste. At a minimum, it’s best to let it rest for 2-3 days, but waiting 2-3 weeks will give you the best results.
Can the Cheese Get Too Much Smoke?
Yes, if you use harsh wood such as; Mesquite, Oak, and hickory. Cheese is delicate and too much smoke can cause it to become inedible, especially, if you don’t like heavily smoked cheese.
Smoking cheese on the Pit Boss pellet is easy and fun. The Pit Boss doesn’t smoke below 180°F, so you’ll need to invest in a smoking device.
Pick a cold day to experiment, so your cheese doesn’t melt.
Hopefully, this guide shows you how easy it is to use the Pit Boss to cold smoke your favorite cheese. Smoking your own cheese can save you money since smoked is so expensive to buy!